In recent years, Kate Royal has been hailed as one of the emerging opera singers in the classical music world. The British lyric soprano is the winner of the 2004 Kathleen Ferrier Award, 2004 John Christie Award and 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award. Royal has also worked with Paul McCartney for her CD Ecce Cor Meum.
The new release, Midsummer Night, is Royal’s third CD with EMI. It is also the second time for her to work with Orchestra of English National Opera and conductor Edward Gardner. The collection includes works that depict poetic and romantic scenes composed by Britten, Korngold, Walton, Dvorak, Stravinsky, Lehar, Barber, Herrmann and Alwyn. As the title suggests, all of the works on the record illustrate the beauty of early evening. The particular focus here is on women.
Royal is fantastic here, singing in a voice that’s particularly pure. She demonstrates her capability for switching between different roles, from the idealistic Miss Julie longing for the end of class distinctions to Rusalka, who wants to be a full human in order to live with her mortal lover.
Royal’s collaboration with the chorus works particularly well on The Merry Widow of Lehar, when Royal (as Hanna) and the chorus sing about a huntsman possessed by a dryad. The orchestra itself makes for excellent company on this release. Royal has demonstrated her ability to be a top-notch singer, in line with such greats as Natalie Dessay and Anna Caterina Antonacci.
Midsummer Night is available from EMI Classics.